Taking on a double major reaps the rewards, but sometimes after much inevitable struggle. You will have employers lining up at the doorsteps if done right, but this does not come without putting the work in to get to that point. Here are some tips to help with managing a double major, a task that may, at times, seem somewhat unmanageable:
1. Keep in contact with your advisors at all times.
Make sure your advisors are aware of what you are doing in both respective majors, and make sure you know what classes you need to be enrolled in to keep on track. A lot of colleges outline a course plan, usually given in a four-year grid. Make sure to ask your advisors if any classes can be taken that count towards both majors, as it can lighten the course load and shorten the time to graduate. Double majoring can lead to a longer time spent in college, sometimes delaying graduation an extra year or more. However, if you stay on top of the course plans, it will more than likely go smoothly. (Just make sure you take into account how this may impact your financial aid eligibility and loan repayment, too.)
2. Pick majors that will count for something after you graduate.
It may not be the best idea to major in two unrelated fields just because you enjoy both. If that is what you want to do, go for it, but all that work may be for nothing when you are only using content from one major in professional your career. Two majors that are related may also make it easier because a lot of the same prerequisite courses can be taken for both.
3. Decide between staying an extra semester or graduating in four years but having a full course load each semester.
Either option can be difficult, but sometimes classes are more manageable when you can devote more time to learning the concepts. This has its drawbacks though, namely staying an extra semester or taking courses over winter and summer sessions (which are usually fast-paced). (Personally, I would tack on the extra semester to lessen the stress, and allow me to fully focus on the classes I need to.)
4. Recognize if it is too much; doubling majoring may not be for everyone.
If the course load becomes too much or if it does not seem worth it anymore, talk to your advisor or even someone close to you. Talk it out and reach a conclusion as to whether or not you should continue. If you decide not to continue, there are always other options. A common one is majoring in one of the subjects and minoring in the other, which lessens the course load but essentially has the same effect as doubling majoring. There is also the option to major in one field, and continue to get your master’s in the other field. Both are viable alternatives to double majoring.
5. Consider the financial implications.
If double majoring means extending your time in school, make sure to discuss how this may affect your financial aid with the financial aid office. Double majoring can also be costly, so make sure you know you have this area covered before making any decisions. Extra classes and extra books can add up expenses over time, which is something to be aware of.
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